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Keeping up with the Joneses

“Morning Julie!”, “How are the kids Sandra?”, “Fancy a brew Dave?” – how often do you find yourself exchanging these kinds of pleasantries with your neighbours over the garden fence? In today’s climate, knowing our neighbours can be a nice pick-me-up at the end of a hard day and an extra bit of support in your local community. Also, having someone to put your bins out when you forget never hurts! 

Whether we’re best friends with them or we’ve never even met them, one thing we all have in common is neighbours, but just how well do Brits in 2020 get on with next door and how well do we really know them?

Our survey delves into the relationships we’ve got with our neighbours, revealing just how close, or not so close, we are to those folks next door.

Love thy neighbour

In a world where things are uncertain, having neighbours who support and care about you can go a long way. 61% of Brits claim to have a good relationship with both neighbouring homes, with 25% being closer to just one. Sadly, 14% say they don’t have a good relationship with next door, but who knows? Today could be the day to introduce yourself! Why not go and say hello?

Would you say you have a good relationship with your next-door neighbours? Overall: 

Does age make a difference when it comes to neighbour friendships? The highest percentage of people who know neighbours on both sides are aged 65 or over, and the lowest percentage are aged 18-24. 25% of the younger generation don't have a relationship with their neighbours at all.

Would you say you have a good relationship with your next-door neighbours? By age: 

Does where you live make a difference to neighbour relationships? Well, the highest percentage of people who know neighbours on both sides are the friendly folks in Northern Ireland. The lowest is in the North East, with only 52% of people knowing their neighbours. The friendliest places also include Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber. Put the kettle on!

Would you say you have a good relationship with your next-door neighbours? By location:

Does money make a difference to neighbour friendships? The survey shows that people with higher incomes have better relationships with neighbours on both sides. 28% of lower-income earners still know one side. But 24% of people earning less than £10,000 don't have any relationship with their neighbours at all.

Would you say you have a good relationship with your next-door neighbours? By income group:

First-name basis 

Knowing someone's first name is a sign of a more informal relationship. But do we know our neighbours on a first-name basis?

As a matter of fact, a whopping 86% of Brits do know their neighbour’s first name!

Do you know the first names of your neighbours? Overall:

When it comes to age, almost all of those aged 65 or over know their neighbours’ first names, and even at the lowest end, 77% of those aged 18-24 know their neighbours’ names. Community spirit all around!

Do we know our neighbours on a first-name basis? By age group:

Getting personal 

We may pop our heads over the fence for a chat every now and again, but do we know the finer details of our neighbours’ lives?

Do we know our neighbours' occupation?

Do you know what your neighbours do for a job? Overall:

When we look more closely, those in older age groups seem to know many more details about their neighbours’ lives, including their careers. 84% of people aged 65 and over know what their neighbours do for a living, with only 54% of 18-24s knowing the same information.

Do you know what your neighbours do for a job? By age group:

Do we know our neighbours' ages?

Do you know how old your neighbours are? Overall:

Age can be quite a sensitive subject, so knowing how old your neighbours are may show just how close the relationship is. Surprisingly, 46% of Brits do know our neighbours' ages, with those who are aged 55-64 most likely to know this detail. Only 40% of those aged 45-54 know their neighbours’ ages. Would you ask your neighbours how old they are?

Do you know how old your neighbours are? By age group

You've got a friend in me

We all need companions. So how great would it be if your friends lived next door? They may know their names, jobs and even their age, but do Brits consider their neighbours to be friends?

Do you consider your neighbours to be friends? Overall:

45% of people would consider their next-door neighbours as their friends. After knowing many of their personal details, we would hope so! However, the majority of people surveyed would NOT consider their neighbours to be friends.
 
Looking at age groups, the only group where people are more likely to consider their neighbours friends is the over 65s, with 66% saying that they consider their neighbour a friend.

Do you consider your neighbours to be friends? By age group:

The largest percentage of people who consider their neighbours friends are to be found in Northern Ireland. At the opposite end of the scale are the people of the West Midlands. Only 36% of them would say next door are their pals, whilst a huge 70% of Northern Ireland residents.

Do you consider your neighbours to be friends? By location:

Community spirit

Street BBQs, cul-de-sac parties or even just having a brew and a catchup with Jerry from next door – is your neighbourhood about more than just a smile and a wave over the fence? 

Do Brits ever socialise with neighbours aside from a passing conversation?

Do you ever socialise with your neighbours aside from a passing conversation? Overall:

When it comes to neighbours hanging out as friends, the younger generations seem to be mingling much more. 37% of 18-24s regularly socialise with their neighbouring pals and 33% of those aged 25-34 do so too. On the other hand, 74% of people aged 65 or over never socialise with their neighbours aside from a passing conversation.

Do you ever socialise with your neighbours aside from a passing conversation? By age group: 

Those with great friendships with their neighbours are mainly in London. In fact, 44% of people in the capital would socialise with their neighbours aside from a passing conversation, which is on par with those in Northern Ireland. On the other hand, just 19% of people in the North East or the West Midlands would say the same.

Do you ever socialise with your neighbours aside from a passing conversation? By location:

A feeling of community on your street can lift spirits. You’ve all got each other’s backs and overall, it makes your area a better place to live. So, do Brits feel they live in a tight-knit community?

Do you feel that you're part of a community with your neighbours? Overall: 

There’s a big difference between the generations when it comes to community spirit. The majority of those under 35 say they don’t feel like part of a community, while the opposite is true of those over 35. As many as 70% of people aged 65 and older say they feel part of a community.

Do you feel that you're part of a community with your neighbours? By age group:

When it comes to regions feeling community spirit, the residents of Northern Ireland top the list again, with 67% feeling a sense of belonging.

Do you feel that you're part of a community with your neighbours? By location: 

The feeling of belonging to a neighbourhood or community has sadly declined over the last couple of years, according to government data released in February 2020. In these technology-obsessed, isolated times, a feeling of inclusiveness is perhaps needed more than ever.

Percentage who agreed or agreed strongly that they felt they belonged to their neighbourhood (2009-2018)

A friendly conversation with your neighbours can not only help you feel closer to your community, but it can also benefit your mental health. So, how often do Brits talk to their neighbours?
 
The majority (41%) of the survey respondents said that they have a natter with next door a few times a week, with 25% saying that they speak to neighbours weekly. 7% have a conversation at least once a day, while 5% never talk to their neighbours.

How often do you speak with your next door neighbours? Overall: 

Splitting these figures into age groups shows the majority of people having daily conversations are in the youngest and the oldest age groups. 61% of those aged 65 or over have conversations a few times each week and the biggest group who NEVER talk to their neighbours are the 18-24- year-olds. There’s not a single person aged 65 or over who doesn't speak to their neighbours at all – how lovely!

How often do you talk to your next-door neighbours? By age group:

Northern Ireland is one of the top three locations where people have daily conversations with their friend’s next door. However, taking the top spot is Wales, where 16% of people chat with the neighbours every single day!  47% of the North East are doing their bit for their community too, and having neighbourly conversations a few times a week.

How often do you talk to your next-door neighbours? By location: 

A recent ONS survey reveals that the percentage of people who regularly stop and talk to people in the neighbourhood has decreased in the last few years. Talking to people in your neighbourhood could be a great way of building relationships in your community as well as brightening up your – and their – day.

Proportion of people who regularly stop and talk with people in the neighbourhood (2011-2018)

With many people being forced to work from home or unable to leave the house and garden area, being a good neighbour is more important than ever. The new guidelines have changed peoples lives dramatically, adding extra pressures on everything from home life to the WiFi!

This could be your perfect chance to say hello to your neighbour, ask their name or just have a chat over the garden fence, observing the social distancing rules obviously. Compassionate and friendly neighbours really do make a difference to people's wellbeing and your community.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, help save lives.

Brought to you by our home insurance experts.

Sources

We surveyed 2,000 British people using Maru/Usurv in March 2020. 


ONS Survey Data - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/datasets/socialcapitalheadlineindicators


1.5 Stop and Talk (Proportion of people who regularly stop and talk with people in the neighbourhood (2011-2018))


4.7 Belonging to a Neighborhood (Percentage who agreed or agreed strongly that they felt they belonged to their neighbourhood (2009-2018))

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